Multi-vehicle accidents can be chaotic, with many different parties affected. One impact may have led to another, creating a chain reaction. That is why it can often be difficult to determine who is at fault for the accident.
There are several factors to consider to determine liability for a multi-vehicle accident. Our Appleton-based automotive crash lawyers at Sigman Janssen discuss these factors below. If you have been injured in a crash involving multiple vehicles, contact us today for a free initial consultation. You may be eligible to recover compensation to help with your medical bills and other related expenses.
No Upfront Fees. Call: (877) 888-5201
Primary and Secondary Impacts
In multi-vehicle accidents, there are primary and secondary impacts:
- The primary impact is the initial crash that leads to the other crashes. It is typically caused by reckless or negligent actions of the driver responsible for striking the other vehicle or object.
- Secondary impacts occur when the vehicles involved in the primary impact are forced into other vehicles; they could also result from accidents that occur because other motorists are working to avoid hitting the wrecked vehicles.
Primary impacts are the cause for the secondary impacts. Without the primary impact, the secondary impacts would not have occurred. The primary impact sets off a chain reaction, which is easily illustrated in the case of a rear-end accident. The vehicle in the rear collides with the vehicle in front of it, which forces that vehicle to collide with the one in front of it, and so on.
Questions to Consider After the Crash
Since multi-vehicle accidents involve several parties and more than one event, it is more difficult to determine who is liable. To determine liability, the following questions are often asked:
- Which vehicle hit yours first?
- Did a primary or secondary impact (or both) affect you?
- How many accidents were you involved in?
- Which crash was the cause of your injury?
- Could more than one driver be at fault in causing the primary and secondary impacts?
- Are you able to recover compensation from more than one negligent party for your injuries?
- What types of compensation are you able to pursue?
In the case of a multi-vehicle accident, one or more insurance companies may attempt to blame you for the accident. They could try to claim their policyholder held no responsibility, denying your claim. An insurer may deny their policyholder’s fault and say the entire accident was the fault of the vehicle that created the primary impact.
These types of cases are often complex. Working with an experienced lawyer will help you pursue the right party or multiple parties for the compensation you need to treat your injuries.
How Comparative Negligence Affects Your Claim
It can be difficult to prove fault in an accident when multiple vehicles are involved. Each party may have contributed to the crash and determining their degree of fault can become complicated.
When several parties are liable for an accident, Wisconsin uses the law of comparative negligence. Under this law, each party involved will be assigned a percentage of fault in causing the crash. The amount of compensation they may be eligible to receive will be reduced according to this percentage.
Even if you contributed to the accident, you may be able to pursue a claim against anyone equally or more at fault than you. However, if you are found to be more at fault than the party or parties you are pursuing a claim against, you will be unable to recover any compensation.
If a claim is not settled before going to court, we are prepared to pursue a lawsuit on your behalf. A judge or jury would then examine the actions of all involved parties to determine if negligence occurred. Our legal team is ready to take the necessary steps to build a strong case on your behalf.
Time Limit to Take Legal Action
Each state has its own statute of limitations for taking legal action. In Wisconsin, the time limit is three years from the date the accident occurred. If this time limit had passed, you will likely be unable to recover compensation. In certain cases, you may be required to file earlier than three years. So, you should consult with our legal team as soon as possible in order to avoid the potential expiration of the statute of limitations.
That is why it is important that you understand the options available to you for your specific claim.
Contact Our Lawyers for Legal Help
If you were injured in a multi-vehicle accident, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation sooner rather than later to help you establish fault and pursue the maximum compensation possible. To date, our firm has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients, including car accident victims.
Request a free, no-obligation consultation today. There are no upfront fees to retain our services. We only get paid if we recover compensation on your behalf.
Sigman Janssen. Proven Results. (877) 888-5201